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March Madness – What to Know About Selection Sunday

Selection Sunday. We’re almost at the official start of March Madness. Many experts have already picked the 68 teams they think will be in the tournament. Most are pretty bang on, but we still have some conference tournaments to get through. Will there be any Cinderella stories this year where a team on or below the bubble wins and gets an automatic ticket to the Big Dance?

Eleven Teams Have Already Qualified

As of Tuesday evening, eleven teams have their invitations:

  • Stetson (A-Sun)
  • Longwood (Big South)
  • Charleston (CAA)
  • Oakland (Horizon League)
  • Drake (Missouri Valley)
  • Wagner (Northeast)
  • Morehead State (Ohio Valley)
  • Samford (Southern)
  • South Dakota State (Summit League)
  • James Madison (Sun Belt)
  • Saint Mary’s (West Coast)

The remaining qualifiers will be decided this week. The last ones will receive their invites on March 17th, a little before Selection Sunday starts at 6 pm EST for the men and 8 pm EST for the women.

The conferences that will be decided on the 17th are:

  • American
  • Atlantic 10
  • Big Ten
  • Ivy
  • SEC

Projected Top Seeds

Purdue, Houston, and Connecticut are the top teams expected to get the No. 1 seeds. Tennessee isn’t quite at their level, but we need a fourth No. 1, so they’ll likely get it unless stranger things happen during their tournament this week.

Arizona or North Carolina might be able to bump the Vols, but otherwise, they’ll join Iowa State and Creighton to round out the No. 2 seeds.

Conferences With Multiple Teams

There’s no limit to the number of teams that can get selected by the committee from one conference. Here are the projections for next week:

Conference              # of Teams              Teams

Big 12             9            Baylor, BYU, Houston, Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech

SEC               7            Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Tennessee

Big Ten           6            Purdue, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan State, Nebraska, Northwestern

MWC              6            Boise State, Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State, Utah State, Nevada

Big East          4            Creighton, Marquette, Seton Hall, UConn

ACC               4            Clemson, Duke, North Carolina, Virginia

Pac-12            3            Arizona, Colorado, Washington State

American         2            FAU, South Florida


Atlantic 10       2            Dayton, Richmond

West Coast      2            Saint Mary’s, Gonzaga

Odds to Win the NCAA Tournament

UConn surprised everyone last year when they won the national tournament. It’s no surprise that they aim to repeat this season, as they are the current favorites. But they are followed close behind by Houston and Purdue.

They might have the shortest odds to win the NCAA Tournament, but they are projected to start the tournament as the overall No. 3 seed, behind No. 1 seed Houston and No. 2 seed Purdue.

Houston is ready to avenge its quick exit from last year’s tournament when it was knocked out in the Sweet Sixteen. They’ve won nine straight games and have the best defensive rating in the nation. Unfortunately, they will have to work without freshman forward Joseph Tugler, who is out for the remainder of the season with a foot injury.

Purdue has even more to prove than Houston because the Boilermakers were eliminated in the first round of last year’s tournament. They will once again be led by 7-foot-4 senior Zack Edey, who is having a phenomenal season, averaging 24.1 points, 11.7 rebounds, 2.2 blocks, and 1.9 assists per game. He won the Wooden Award last year and is a top contender to win it this year, which would make him the first repeat winner since 1983.

Tennessee topped the SEC in the regular season, but the four teams in second place are so close that any of them could easily knock out the Vols in the tournament this week. Tennessee’s offense is among the best in the nation, and its defense forces the highest turnover percentage in the SEC. Keep your limits in if you have a lot of Tennessee fans betting this week.

Team           Odds to win NCAA Tournament

UConn                   +500

Houston                 +650

Purdue                   +850

Tennessee             +1400

Arizona                  +1400

North Carolina         +2200

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